Audiobook Spotlight: House of Thieves

Take a step back into the glittering high society and squalid underbelly of Gilded-Age New York City with this compelling crime novel by author Charles Belfoure. In House of Thieves, architect John Cross is comfortable in his position in the upper echelons of house of thievessociety. While his profession does not afford him a great deal of wealth, his familial connections—particularly to Caroline Astor, one of New York’s most well-known socialites—provide him and his children with opportunities to move up in the world. But when his eldest son George’s gambling addiction lands him in hot water with James T. Kent, a powerful and depraved gangster, it is up to John to clear both his son’s debts and the family name. By leaking architectural schematics of some of New York’s finest mansions to Kent and his gang, John enables them to sneak into the homes of the nouveau riche and steal away with their most precious treasures. The more Kent’s Gents steal, he reasons, the quicker George’s debts will be paid off and the sooner he will be free of the corrupt and grimy world of the gangsters. Little does John know, his seventeen-year-old daughter and ten-year-old son have also gotten in mixed up in this seedy underworld as well, and his older brother (a Pinkerton guard) has begun to investigate the capers that he and Kent are arranging. His situation grows more precarious by the day, and soon John begins to realize his reputation is not the only thing at stake—and if he goes down, his whole family will go with him.

Before he was a bestselling novelist, Charles Belfoure was a professional architect, and he uses his expertise in architectural history to great effect in his most recent novel, painting an exquisitely detailed picture of New York City as it was in the height of the Victorian era. Publisher’s Weekly review raves: “Belfoure’s sly, roguish writing opens a window to those living both gilded and tarnished lives.” If you are interested in history, architecture, or simply looking for a story that will thoroughly entertain you, this is one book you will not want to miss.  You can listen to it now on RBDigital, from your home computer or on your mobile device. Unfortunately, we will stop offering RBDigital in early October due to low checkout numbers. But you can still enjoy the service through the end of the month, so check out House of Thieves (and many other titles) on RBDigital today!

By Emily

Audiobook Spotlight: Hunting Game

Fans of Helene Tursten’s Inspector Huss novels will love this first installment of the author’s new series, a Nordic noir mystery starring Detective Inspector Embla Nystrom. Hunting Game sees the 28-year-old inspector taking a break from her stressful job in the mobile unit of Gothenburg, Sweden to go on a moose hunt with her family and friends inhunting game remote and rural Dalsland. Embla, a talented boxer and longtime sportswoman, is excited to channel some of her nervous energy into her passion for hunting. That is, until Peter Hansson—an enigmatic stranger with a penchant for technology, to whom Embla feels inexplicably drawn—joins the hunting party, making their number an unlucky thirteen. Soon after his arrival misfortune after misfortune befalls the band of hunters: a dog is poisoned, a woman is bitten by a snake, and the party finds a dangerous trap on the path, seemingly set for them. These occurrences culminate in the disappearance of two members of the party, who had received a pair of mysterious messages just days before. When one of them is found dead, his body submerged in a freezing lake, Embla realizes her vacation has come to an end. Now it is up to her to catch the killer. But to do that, she must uncover the dark pasts of some of her closest friends and relatives.

First seen as a side character in Tursten’s 2015 novel The Treacherous Net, here Embla Nystrom shines at the center of her own story. A thoroughly balanced character—full of willful gumption and sharp wit, yet still sensitive and clearly plagued by the ghosts of her own past—she is a joy to follow through this twist-and-turn mystery, especially when she makes the choice to not play by the rules. With such a strong character at its fore, it’s no wonder that the Book List Review is raving that readers “…will want to follow this series from its start.” You can start this series now, in your home or on the go, with RBDigital. Thanks to its multi-access lending model, you will never have to put a book on hold or wait to check it out. Remember that listeners like you keep this service available for everyone, so start listening today!

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By Emily

Audiobook Spotlight: Mama’s Last Hug

If you have ever caught your pet doing something they’re not supposed to and seen them give you a guilty look, or watched a nature documentary where mother animals care for mamas last hugtheir babies, the thought has probably crossed your mind that animals feel emotions just like humans do. According to bestselling author and primatologist Frans de Waal, that might just be the case. In his new book Mama’s Last Hug, de Waal explores both animal and human emotions, their similarities and differences and the way they intersect. His account begins with Mama, a fifty-nine year old chimp, whose deathbed reunion with her former keeper and longtime friend Jan van Hooff went viral online. The video of their last meeting showed Mama giving van Hooff a wide smile and a big hug, and even patting him gently on the back—a gesture than many view as distinctly “human,” but de Waal explains is observed in most primates. Using their touching final interaction as a jumping-off point, de Waal reveals the findings of many years of research into the social and emotional lives of primates (and many other species as well, from elephants to fish and, yes, even dogs). Over the span of the book he covers everything from facial expressions and questions of feelings versus emotions, to animal sentience, consciousness and the illusion of free will. All of this is woven through an expertly-told story of Mama’s own long life and sad passing that will touch listeners’ hearts and open their minds to a natural world more connected to our own than we ever imagined.

A follow-up to his previous bestseller, Are We Smart Enough To Know How Smart Animals Are?, Mama’s Last Hug acts as a companion piece to de Waal’s thought-provoking meditation on animal intelligence. Yet with its thoroughly-researched facts and its warm, easy prose this book is easily compelling enough to stand on its own. What sets it apart, however, is the author’s emphasis on the importance of empathy across species. Kirkus Review raves, “de Waal is a skilled storyteller, and his love for animals always shines through.” If you are an animal-lover, or even a little curious about the connections that we might share, this book is a must-read. Check it out today on RBDigital, where you can start enjoying it right away, without ever placing a hold or joining a waitlist. Remember: listeners like you keep this service available for everyone, so give RBDigital a try! You may love what you discover.

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By Emily

Audiobook Spotlight: Love on the Line

Filled with colorful characters, rich historical details, and romantic intrigue, this novel by author Deeanne Gist is sure to be a treat for listeners looking for a book that will sweep them off their feet. In Love on the Line, Georgie Gail is a tenacious and tough love lineswitchboard operator, trying to make her way in the working world at the turn of the century, when men dominated nearly every field. Her experience on the job has made Georgie somewhat spiky to others, especially to Luke Palmer, her company’s new telephone repairman. However, she manages to find solace in nature—going on birding expeditions in the wide Texas wilderness. On one such expedition Georgie makes a discovery she was not quite bargaining for: instead of finding a rare bird out on the range she finds Luke, armed with a gun and far from any telephone lines. Luke, it turns out, is not a repairman at all, but an undercover Texas ranger by the name of Lucious Landrum. He is on the trail of the notorious outlaw Frank Comer and his gang of train bandits. With his cover broken by the wily Georgie, he has no choice but to take her into his confidence while he tries to solve the case. But doing this puts them both in danger, and just as Georgie starts to lose her heart to the mysterious lawman, she realizes she also stands to lose her life.

Deeanne Gist is well-known for her sweeping historical romances, and critics have long praised her careful attention to historical detail, which immerses readers in the world of each story. She shows this same level of care in Love on the Line, but the true stars of the show here are her romantic leads. Book List Review says that “…readers will fall head over heels” for Luke and Georgie, and it is easy to see why. Each is an engaging and entertaining character in their own right, and together their chemistry strikes irresistible sparks. You will want to listen to it again and again—and with RBDigital, you can! Audiobooks are always available, so you never have to wait to listen to your favorites or to pick up something new. Listeners like you keep this service available for everyone, so give RBDigital a listen today!

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By Emily

Audiobook Spotlight: True Grit

Fans of westerns and of cool, smart historical fiction won’t want to put down this classic novel by renowned author Charles Portis. True Grit follows the stubborn and clever true gritMattie Ross, a fourteen-year-old girl from Arkansas who bears witness to a grisly shoot-out. After the sinister outlaw Tom Chaney takes her father’s life, his horse, and 150 dollars in cash, young Mattie takes it upon herself to bring the criminal to justice and avenger her father’s death. Along the way she enlists the help of a one-eyed U.S. marshal by the name of Rooster Cogburn—who may be the only man in the west as stubborn as she is. As their pursuit of Chaney leads the two deep into Indian Territory, Mattie must keep her wits about her in order to outsmart and out-maneuver the hardened men of the old west.

Published in 1968, True Grit was later adapted into two different major motion pictures—one in 1969, starring John Wayne in an Oscar-winning turn as Rooster Cogburn, and another in 2010 which was written and directed by the Coen brothers. Its many adaptations attest to the timeless nature of the novel, which was met with praise upon its publishing and remains well-beloved by readers today. Its characters—especially the relentless, clever young Mattie—are flawed but deeply compelling, and its prose is quick, crisp, and peppered with dry humor. Anyone in want of a rousing adventure to get lost in and a cool heroine to root for will want to check it out right away. With RBDigital you can check True Grit out anytime, anywhere for free, without ever having to place it on hold. Listeners like you keep this service available for everyone, so start listening with RBDigital today!

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By Emily

Audiobook Spotlight: Sand Sharks

Want to squeeze one last summer read in before vacation ends? A quick, cozy mystery like Margaret Maron’s Sand Sharks may be just the listen you’re looking for. While her husband and stepson are out of town, tying up the loose ends left by his late first wife, Judge Deborah Knott takes a trip of her own, going out to the coast to attend a conferencesand sharks for district court judges. But while she is trying to relax in the sand and the surf, Deborah discovers the body of a colleague— and a particularly corrupt one at that —washed up on the beach. Later, when another judge is put in a coma by a hit-and-run, and the driver is discovered dead in a totaled car the next day, it seems that the case is closed. But Deborah, who witnessed the hit-and-run, is not so convinced. When she’s assigned to the case, she searches relentlessly for a motive, only to find that her digging is putting her in even more danger. Just when she thinks her would-be getaway couldn’t get any worse, she finds that she may be the mysterious judge-killer’s next victim. Now she has to solve the case before she becomes just another beach body.

A later installment in her award-winning Deborah Knott mystery series, this book has a hold on the familiar mystery formula that makes the series so well-liked, but still adds enough surprising twists and character quirks to keep listeners on their toes. Publishers Weekly Review says, “Maron’s homespun evocation of people and place is typically pitch-perfect… and her engaging heroine [is] as welcome a companion as you could wish for under a beach umbrella.” You won’t want to put this one down, so you should be finished with it long before vacation ends. And since audiobooks on RBDigital are available to listen to at any time, you won’t have to place a hold or wait another minute to get it! Listeners like you keep this service available for everyone, so check out Sand Sharks today!

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By Emily

Audiobook Spotlight: The Curse of Misty Wayfair

If you’re like me, you’ve probably noticed that fall décor (especially of the Halloween variety) is already showing up on the shelves in all your favorite stores. If you’re also like me, and more than ready to get in on the spooky fun early this year, you may want to curse of misty wayfaircheck out Jaime Jo Wright’s chilling novel, The Curse of Misty Wayfair. Set in two concurrent timelines, this mystery follows a pair of women separated by a century, each searching for answers about their respective pasts.  In 1908, Thea Reed journeys to Pleasant Valley, Wisconsin to try and find her mother, who left her at an orphanage as a child. Her search leads her to the local mental asylum, where she uses her skills as a post-mortem photographer to gain access to the patients and their records. But when she sees the ghostly figure of a woman on the grounds, she begins to worry that her search has unearthed more than just the secrets of her past. A hundred years later, Heidi Lane also travels to Pleasant Valley to find answers about an antique photo she has discovered—and a woman in the picture who looks just like her. She, too, sees a spectral figure lurking in the ruins of the long-abandoned asylum: the legendary Misty Wayfair, who the locals say is a portent of death. Now, with their lives on the line, both Thea and Heidi must fight to uncover their true identities before it’s too late.

Between its chilling, atmospheric prose, and its in-depth but careful handling of the theme of mental illness (and its stigmatization, in both the past and present), The Curse of Misty Wayfair is a haunting novel in more ways than one. Book List Review raves: “Wright creates an inspirational mystery… which is sure to keep [readers] up at night.” Whether you’re getting ready for Halloween or just itching to get your hands on a mystery with satisfying thrills and chills, this is one book you won’t want to miss! You can listen to it now on RBDigital, where you never have to wait to hear your favorite books. Listeners like you keep this service available for everyone, so check out The Curse of Misty Wayfair today!

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By Emily

Audiobook Spotlight: Strip Tease

Listeners looking for a comic caper to beat the August heat need look no further than this hilarious crime novel, written by longtime Miami Herald columnist, Carl Hiaasen. Strip Tease begins at the Eager Beaver, a strip club in Fort Lauderdale, and follows the club’s try again strip tease star stripper Erin Grant. A former FBI clerk, Erin is locked in a battle for the custody of her daughter, and dances nightly in order to foot her legal bills. One night, when a drunk fan gets a little too handsy, Erin is rescued from his advances by David Dilbeck—a congressman with ties to corrupt sugar growers, up for reelection. Two enterprising club-goers see this encounter as an opportunity to blackmail David. The first is motivated by love: a die-hard fan of Erin’s, he wants the congressman to use his power to win her custody battle for her. The other wants nothing but David’s cold hard cash. Both of these men end up dead. And this is just the start of the chaos. Erin will also have to survive an ever-escalating feud between the Eager Beaver and rival strip-bar the Flesh Farm, the increasingly violent advances of her rusty-knife-wielding ex-husband, and the long murderous arm of the Florida sugar industry in order to finally escape with her daughter.

Strip Tease is Hiaasen’s fifth novel, and by far his most political: his satirical take on nearly every aspect of Florida life rings bitingly true but never loses its humor. Hiaasen’s satire is also buoyed by his colorful cast of characters, who feel at once larger-than-life and grounded in reality. Kirkus Review calls the novel, “Prime Hiaasen, and with a new edge: sexier, more violent, more political, but just as funny.” This thrilling send-up of life in the Sunny State is one you’ll want to listen to over and over as you soak up the last month of the summer. And thanks to RBDigital, you can listen to it on your mobile device anytime and anywhere, without ever needing to put it on hold. Listeners like you keep this service available for everyone, so check out Strip Tease today!

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By Emily

Audiobook Spotlight: A Walk Across the Sun

Complex characters and beautiful prose combine with a powerful, timely message in Corban Addison’s debut novel, A Walk Across the Sun. The story begins with two sisters, Ahalya and Sita, who live in the peaceful seaside town of Tamil Nadu, India. When their a walk across the sunhome is destroyed and their parents are killed in the 2005 tsunami, the young girls are sold into the sex trade. As they are passed from place to place, at the mercy of criminals, they witness unspeakable the unspeakable horrors that are tragically all too common to the world of sex trafficking. As they endure this ordeal, an American lawyer called Thomas Clarke decides to take a year-long sabbatical from his work as a high-end DC lawyer to work for CASE, the Coalition Against Sexual Exploitation. The agency stages a brothel raid, and is able to rescue Ahalya—but unfortunately, Sita is nowhere to be found. When Thomas meets Ahalya and learns of her plight, he makes it his personal mission to find Sita and bring her safely home. But to keep his promise, he must dive deep into the dark underworld of sex trafficking, and witness some of its most sinister horrors.

Praised for its sensitive handling of timely themes, A Walk Across the Sun is a compelling and essential novel not to be missed. Library Journal Review says that although the story is moving (and ultimately triumphant), “…the message is greater and will leave an impact on everyone who picks up the book.” If you are looking for an illuminating read with complex characters and challenging themes, this novel is for you. You can check it out today on RBDigital—no need to place a hold or join a wait list. Remember that listeners like you keep this service available for everyone, so check out A Walk Across the Sun today!

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By Emily

Audiobook Spotlight: Red Rising

Fans of dystopian thrillers such as The Hunger Games and Ender’s Game will not want to miss this ambitious first novel from author Pierce Brown. Set in a distant future where humans have fled a dying Earth to live on Mars, Red Rising follows sixteen year old Darrow, a member of the Red clan, the lowest caste in the heavily stratified Martian society. Darrow and the other Reds spend their days in brutal, tireless work, mining for red risinghelium-3 that they believe will help to make the surface of Mars habitable for future generations. But when Darrow’s wife Eo is arrested and hanged for singing a song of freedom, everything Darrow thinks he knows about his place in society changes. Rescued from the gallows by a band of upper-class revolutionaries, Darrow is soon indoctrinated into their cause and surgically altered to resemble a member of the highest caste, the Golds. When he is sent to infiltrate the Golds’ society, he finds that they live in great luxurious cities on a surface that is already livable, and that they are keeping the Reds in slavery for their own benefit. Now, motivated not only by his lost love but also righteous anger on behalf of his people, Darrow must enter into a series of war games with some of society’s best and most brutal fighters. With the fate of many in the balance, will Darrow survive these trials, or fall victim to the brutality of the Golds?

Red Rising is a richly detailed debut novel that is sure to absorb and immerse listeners. Book List Review praises Brown for crafting “a fully realized society… and a cast of well-drawn characters.” Between these and the nearly relentless pace of the dark and twisting plot, you may not want to put it down until the book is finished. Luckily, Red Rising is always available on RBDigital, where you never have to wait. You can take out this novel at any time using your library card—no need to place a hold! This service depends on listeners like you, so don’t hesitate: check out Red Rising (and its sequel, Golden Son) today!

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By Emily